For many years, Twitter and he photo-sharing subordinate TwitPic have been side-by-side in one of the biggest social media phenomenons on the planet. But few people were aware that the two platforms were actually separate entities.
Twitter made sure to outline that loud and clear yesterday (September 4) when they forced TwitPic to either give up their trademark or being rubbed out of using its application programming interface (API).
TwitPic founder Noah Everett shared the difficult decision to close shop on his blog:
A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.
We originally filed for our trademark in 2009 and our first use in commerce dates back to February 2008 when we launched. We encountered several hurdles and difficulties in getting our trademark approved even though our first use in commerce predated other applications, but we worked through each challenge and in fact had just recently finished the last one. During the “published for opposition” phase of the trademark is when Twitter reached out to our counsel and implied we could be denied access to their API if we did not give up our mark.
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.
This won’t be the last you hear from Everett, though. When he knew the writing was on the wall, he launched a new messaging/email by the name of Pingly which you can read about here.
In the meantime, there’s this little website named Instagram that will gladly shoulder the load.